1970 – 2021
It was with regret that we learnt of the passing of Alan Miller on 3rd June 2021 at the tragically young age of 51.
Alan began his footballing career as an apprentice with Arsenal in 1984. Whilst at Highbury he was part of Arsenal’s F.A. Youth Cup winning side of 1987-88 and gained four England Under-21 caps. However, the consistency of John Lukic and then David Seaman meant opportunities for first team experience were extremely limited.
Alan had loan spells with Plymouth Argyle, West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City before he made his debut for the ‘Gunners’ on 21st November 1992 as a substitute for David Seaman, becoming the first Arsenal goalkeeper to make a substitute appearance. Alan made three starts that campaign and another three starts and a substitute outing the following season. He won F.A. Cup and League Cup winners’ medals in 1992–93 and a European Cup Winners’ Cup medal in 1993–94, as an unused substitute each time. However, it was clear that if his career was to flourish as predicted it would need to be away from Highbury.
In August 1994 he moved to Middlesbrough and became the number one ‘keeper for a season before arrival of Gary Walsh from Manchester United found him return to the familiar role of backup ‘keeper. In January 1997 he had short loan spells with Huddersfield Town and Grimsby Town before moving to West Bromwich Albion the following month.
It was Ray Harford who took Miller to ‘The Hawthorns’ and it was here that Alan was to enjoy his most productive spell in League football. He made an instant impression at the club, recording five clean sheets in a dozen games. He proved a thoroughly dependable goalkeeper and his acrobatically entertaining style combined with a safe pair of hands made him a huge favourite with the supporters. He made 113 League and Cup appearances for the ‘Baggies’ before leaving to join the Rovers in February 2000.
Alan was signed by Tony Parkes during his spell in charge between Brian Kidd’s dismissal and the appointment of Graeme Souness in March 2000. With the Rovers already having three experienced ‘keepers in Alan Kelly, John Filan and Alan Fettis, Alan faced a challenge to force his way into the team. His first appearance for the club came in a Reserve game away to Leeds United and a few days later he was on the bench as the substitute goalkeeper for the first team, a role he maintained for the remainder of the season. He made one start, against Sheffield United on 1st April 2000, when he kept a clean sheet in a 5-0 win for the Rovers.
In August 2000, he spent a short time on loan with Bristol City but returned to make his second and final start for the Rovers against Portsmouth on 19 September 2000 in the first leg of a second round Worthington Cup-tie.
However, the arrival of Brad Friedel, in November 2000, meant Alan’s career at Ewood Park was now confined to occasional roles on the bench as the substitute goalkeeper. It was in this role that he picked up a Worthington Cup winners’ medal when Rovers defeated Tottenham Hotspur in the 2002 Final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Alan had a brief loan spell with Coventry City before enjoying a longer period on loan to St Johnstone in Scotland. Sadly, at the age of 33 he was forced to retire from the game due to a back injury.
After retiring from football, Alan spent time in Mallorca running a bespoke holiday service. However, his love of horse racing brought him back to England to take on the Nelson pub in Burnham Market, with his partner, which he renamed ‘The Jockey.’
Alan then started to work at the Holkham Estate and eventually moved to Holkham and went on to become the business development manager at Holkham Hall, a position he held at the time of his passing.
The Blackburn Rovers Former Players Association wish to express their deepest sympathy to Alan’s family and friends at this sad time.